JOURNAL ARTICLE

64-MDCT coronary angiography of patients with atrial fibrillation: influence of heart rate on image quality and efficacy in evaluation of coronary artery disease

Lin Yang, Zhaoqi Zhang, Zhanming Fan, Chao Xu, Lei Zhao, Wei Yu, Zixu Yan
AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology 2009, 193 (3): 795-801
19696294

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to prospectively evaluate the effects of mean heart rate and heart rate variability on image quality at coronary 64-MDCT angiography of patients with atrial fibrillation and to determine the efficacy of coronary 64-MDCT angiography in the detection of significant (> 50%) coronary artery stenosis in patients with atrial fibrillation.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Sixty patients (37 women, 23 men; mean age, 58.7 years) underwent both coronary 64-MDCT angiography and conventional coronary angiography. Heart rate variability was calculated as the SD from the mean heart rate during scanning. Image quality (good, moderate, or poor) and the presence of significant (> 50%) stenosis at coronary CT angiography were evaluated by two radiologists blinded to the results of conventional coronary angiography. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of coronary CT angiography were calculated with conventional angiography as the reference standard. Pearson's correlation analysis and chi-square tests were performed to compare image quality with mean heart rate and heart rate variability in each patient. Differences in detection of coronary artery stenosis between coronary 64-MDCT angiography and conventional coronary angiography were evaluated with McNemar's test, and agreement between techniques was calculated with kappa statistics.

RESULTS: The mean heart rate was 90 +/- 13.1 beats/min with variability of 19.35 +/- 6.95 beats/min. Of 803 segments evaluated, 26 (3%) were considered to have poor image quality. Highly significant correlation was found between mean heart rate and image quality for all segments in each patient (r = 0.51, p < 0.001), for the right coronary artery (r = 0.43, p = 0.001), and for the distal portion of the coronary arteries (r = 0.50, p < 0.001). Heart rate variability also correlated in a highly significant way with image quality in all segments (r = 0.57, p < 0.001), the right coronary artery (r = 0.46, p < 0.001), and the middle (r = 0.44, p = 0.001) and distal (r = 0.41, p = 0.001) portions of the coronary arteries. The best diagnostic image quality was obtained in end systole (200-400 milliseconds). Image quality decreased significantly with a mean heart rate greater than 100 beats/min or with an SD of heart rate greater than 24 beats/min. The overall sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value per segment level were 86.4%, 99.3%, 79.2%, and 99.6%. No significant difference was found between coronary 64-MDCT angiography and conventional coronary angiography in detection of significant stenosis. Excellent agreement between techniques was found.

CONCLUSION: Coronary 64-MDCT angiography has diagnostic image quality within a wide range of heart rates and in patients with atrial fibrillation. Reducing average heart rate and heart rate variability in patients with atrial fibrillation is beneficial in improving image quality.

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